By Joseph Staszewski
Mike Libasci is finally healthy and it shows.
The Monsignor McClancy senior pitcher has battled injuries during his four years at the East Elmhurst school. His sophomore year he hyperextended his left knee and last year the righty was held back by bicep tendonitis in this throwing arm. Libasci, now feeling 100 percent, was stellar even in defeat.
He allowed just one earned run on four hits and struck out six for the host Crusaders in a 2-0 loss to the first place Clippers in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Class AA baseball Monday. The other run scored in the fourth inning on a double play.
“Today I felt the best I felt in a couple years,” Libasci said.
It was this third start of the year and his first complete game. He’s learned to mix up his pitching better and is smarter in the way he is throwing to hitters. McClancy Coach Nick Melito called his slider vicious.
“If he pitches like that consistently, we will really be good,” Melito said.
On this day they ran into a pitcher who was better. Xaverian junior Anthony Sigisondi allowed four hits and fanned five. He left two Crusaders runners on base in the first inning and two more on second and third with just one out on the fourth. Melito said his team needed to make contact with one out, but struck out instead.
“He made some big pitches when he had to,” the coach said.
Xaverian (11-2) led 1-0 after the top of the fourth inning. The Clippers added an insurance run in the seventh when pinch hitter Matt Mueller drove in Anthony, who reached on an error.
The loss was still an indicator of the growth McClancy has gone through this season with a roster that includes mostly sophomores and juniors. The Crusaders (8-5) sit just a game behind St. Francis Prep, which it beat recently, for third place in the division.
“I think this team has come a long way,” Melito said.
He believes their experience facing quality pitching will have them ready for the post season. Libasci said it’s important for them to continue their effort and positive vibe.
“We have to maintain the same energy and keep playing hard,” Libasci said. “No matter who the opponent is.”